Thursday, April 05, 2007

Snake in the Grass

Have you ever finished dinner and thought: “let’s go run 17 miles!”? Either had I. My daughter had soccer practice from 7:00 until 9:30 tonight (they’re getting ready for the Arizona State Championship Tournament) . When my daughter started bugging me about heading to the practice field at 6:30, I realized I could actual get in my 17 miler I had scheduled for Sunday, which would free up my weekend to work on my house. I ran upstairs tossed on my running gear, grabbed my HR monitor, Garmin, Vaseline and got back down stairs to the garage before my daughter got her soccer gear loaded into the car.

Temperatures were right around 90F (32C) when I started out heading north on the trail running along the AZ51 freeway for the 4 mile run up to Reach 11 Park. My game plan was to run 4 miles up to the park, run 3 loops around the park for another 9 miles and 4 miles back to the soccer field.

Once I got up to the desert park, the temperatures dropped dramatically. This is the reason I like this park. It reminds how it was living in Arizona in the late 60’s before every square inch of this city was covered with asphalt. Even though the day time temperatures were blazing hot, it cooled off quickly when the sun finally set below the horizon. The same happens in this park. As soon as the asphalt path ended and the dirt trail started, the temperature seem to drop dramatically and the air felt cool as the perspiration evaporated off my skin.

Of course with beauty, there is often terror. As my faithful readers will recall, I’m terrified of running into rattle snakes; however, for two nights this week, I’ve run through this park at night, seeing nary an animal. Of course, my luck was bound to run out. Only a mile into the park, while running down a very wide path, I heard the distinct sound of rattles directly to my left. I pulled up, turned around and scanned the path behind me with the beam of my head lamp. There on the side of the path was a fat crocked branch. As I approach for a better look, the branch set it’s rattles in motion. Damn, I ran right by this snake and didn’t even see it. The rattle snake was only 3 feet long and certainly not the largest snake I’ve seen in the park, but the fact that I ran within a couple of feet of the thing with my lamp on certainly disturbed any confidence I had that I could run safely through this park at night with only my headlamp to guide me. I cut the park portion of the run short and exited the park 2 miles later without seeing another snake.

I ran the rest of the 17 miles up and down the asphalt trail running along the freeway. It certainly was not as much fun as running through the park, but there was little chance of running into any more snakes. This is the first time that I've ever run 17 miles the day after running 10. It felt great. I didn't have any trouble with my feet going numb, nor any of the other issues I usually run into on longer runs; just mile after mile of running. I got back to the soccer field just as practice was finishing, proving that even I can sneak in 17 miles on a whim.

Hope your weekend goes well

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK:

MON: 9.5 miles w/4 miles at 7:30/mi; 8:37/mi avg pace
TUE: 5.0 miles, recovery; 9:42/mi avg pace; HR - 139
WED: 10.0 miles, aerobic; 9:14/mi avg pace; HR - 151
THR: 17.0 miles, aerobic; 9:23/mi avg pace; HR - 148

16 comments:

Love2Run said...

Yeow! I'm glad all we have to worry about is the weather and maybe an occasional dog. Glad to hear the moving stick stayed at a distance and great run. 90 degrees!?! (sticking out tongue)

Feminist Runner said...

Rattlesnakes! I would be terrified as well. All we have are occasionally very large rats.
I can't believe you sneaked in a 17 miler. You have such incredible motivation.

david said...

I'm glad I've only had to worry about black snakes. Ran across two getting it on in the road last week. They didn't seem to notice me because they had other things on their little minds.

Hilda said...

I hope someday I can repeat your words about running 10 and then 17 with succsess!
Now you have the week end free. Will you be attempt to run?

DawnB said...

I certainly would have done my first PR if I had seen that sneak!!! :)

D said...

Oh my goodness - I have never seen a snake while running and would probably freak out if I did. Scary. Nice runs this week, Phil.

Deene said...

at least they shake their rattles to give a warning, as creepy as they are, I don't like the very quiet gopher snakes that you nearly step on.

Yvonne said...

wow, now i feel reeeeeeeeeeeally lazy. thanks a bunch. ;)

jen said...

Yikes! Glad you are ok and made the smart move of exiting the park. Be careful!

Great job getting in the 17 miler on a whim, that's crazy. :) Enjoy your weekend!

aggie jogger '77 said...

That makes for an interesting run Phil. I share your terror of snakes and just about anything else that would be so bold as to move into my pathway suddenly.
It has tried to snow here today, actually just a few light flurries off and on that didn't stick...but still now in Oklahoma in April. It didn't make for any desire to want to run today, so this has turned into a day off.
I will run with a group in the morning for 4 or 5 miles I believe and I look forward to that.

J~Mom said...

Your snake story is scary. Our black lab got bit by one out in a field one day. It was awful. Please take care while out there!

That is so awesome you got those two runs in back to back! Are you going to try an ultra someday?

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Great run, Phil!

I wouldn't worry too much about the snakes when you are running. Believe it or not, they don't bite anything that they don't get a good smell of first. Besides, you are a pretty tough moving target running. I have literally stepped right over them on trail runs out here and never had them even try to bite me.

That doesn't mean my heart didn't jump into my neck every time, though.

Rose said...

Believe it or not, rattlers are quite shy and would only attack if caught by surprise. Just stomp a few times as you enter areas where the path is obscured. They always give me a fright, but I have never seen one do anything but try to protect itself . . .

Impressive runs this week - and in 90F weather no less!

Shane (mississip) said...

Down here it is water moccassins you have to worry about on lakeside trails. But 17 miles on a whim AND after a 10-miler? You da man!!!

Runningdoctor said...

Jeebus, I get freaked out by mean-looking deer up in these parts.

stephruns said...

yeah, i think you don't have to worry about the snakes..just keep running.